Lara Murray-Sterzel, Staff Writer |
When you’re in grade school you learn about America’s most tragic events in history. The Revolutionary War, The Civil War, and Pearl Harbor. And you never think you’ll live to see the next event, or you hope there will never be another attack. But the sad truth is things in life are always unexpected. The 9/11 attacks were one of them. On Friday, Sep. 9, Oneonta students gathered in the Quad to remember the losses of Oneonta Alumni whose lives were taken that day. This bittersweet ceremony was a small but powerful memorial that brings closure to loved ones who never got to say goodbye.
Whether we were born at the time of the attack or were too young to remember it, our parents certainly do. The attacks occurred the morning of Sep. 11, 2001, at 8:46 a.m., when a plane crashed into one of the Twin Towers, but it appeared to have been an accident. Until another plane hit the other tower across from it. By that time the news was covering the attack which soon reported about a plane hitting the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense. The fuel from the planes caused a big fire within the buildings that crippled them to fall, leaving the city in smoke. Many innocent people died on 9/11. A few days later, Americans would learn that the planes were hijacked by members of a terrorist network called Al Qaeda, attempting to scare America away from their involvement in Middle Eastern governments.
The memorial ceremony began at 9 a.m. with an Honor Guard to start with members from SUNY Oneonta’s Police Department, City of Oneonta Fire Department, and City of Oneonta Police Department. The Honor Guard stopped at twelve-foot column sculptures of the Twin Towers designed by Charles Bremer and placed a reef in front of it. Then Rebecca Carrington’ 90 and Chief of Staff Danielle McMulle sang a beautiful duet of “Star Spangled Banner”. After the Woodwind Ensemble band performed and remembered First-Responders, the time came when 9/11 scholarship recipients placed a rose in front of the tower that took the life of the Alumni their scholarship is named after, dedicating it in their memory. According to the brochure, seven Oneonta Alumni died on 9/11 and are still remembered to this day.
Our country did not give Al Qaeda what it wanted and instead invaded Afghanistan to take them down. Eventually succeeding in killing their leader Osama bin Laden. But with Al Qaeda gone, new terrorist organizations had risen to take their place. But America won’t back down from an enemy prepared to face. When they’ve been knocked down, they don’t stay down for long and come back stronger. A perfect example of this is back in 2012 when the Freedom Tower was built, becoming the new One World Trade Center and the tallest building in the city.